Local & Regional

The Oklahoma legislature is still in its second extraordinary session, but that may be about to wrap up after the Senate passed Thursday what will likely be its final three bills.

House Bill 1022 is the measure committing the state to spend $32 million this year and $110 million next year to replace lost federal funding to the state’s medical schools.

Sen. Roger Thompson said another bill limits the income tax credit for utility companies buying coal mined in the state.

Oklahoma religious leaders are speaking out against gun violence.

The Rev. Chris Moore with Tulsa’s Fellowship Congregational United Church of Christ said while the clergy members are not making specific policy recommendations, officials need to offer more than "thoughts and prayers."

"Frankly, anything would be good. I mean, because what we see is just a complete dedication to one direction. As far as gun laws go, it’s just remove all restrictions," Moore said.

Bixby Schools

Four former Bixby High School football players were charged Thursday for the rape of a teammate.

Colton Cable, Samuel Lakin and William Thomas, all 17; and Joe Wood, 16, each face one count of second-degree rape by instrumentation. Rogers County District Attorney Matt Ballard, acting as the special prosecutor in the case, charged the four teens as youthful offenders, a special classification for minors who commit serious crimes.

Second-degree rape by instrumentation can be punished by up to 15 years in prison. 

The charges don't signal the end of the investigation.

State of Oklahoma-File photo

The Oklahoma Supreme Court heard arguments Thursday in challenges to a proposal to pay teachers more by raising the tax on oil and gas production.

State Question 795 will ask voters to levy a 5 percent gross production tax for 36 months, but the Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association wants it pulled from the November ballot because the written gist of the initiative is not clear about which wells would be affected.

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A report says a business conditions index for nine Midwest and Plains states rose over the past month, pointing to continued improvement in regional economic conditions.

The report released Thursday says the Mid-America Business Conditions Index hit 59.7 in February, compared with 57.3 in January. The December figure was 59.0.

Creighton University economist Ernie Goss oversees the survey, and he says manufacturing and other business sectors in the region are experiencing "very healthy growth in business activity."

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The Oklahoma State Department of Health says this season's flu death toll has reached 194 in Oklahoma and that more than 4,100 people have been hospitalized with flu-related symptoms.

Health officials said Thursday that 157 people have been hospitalized with the flu since Feb. 21, but that no new deaths were recorded.

Since the flu season began Sept. 1, about 2,200 Oklahomans aged 65 and over have been hospitalized with the flu as well as 330 aged 4 and under. Most flu-related deaths this season were among people 65 or older.

Woman Robbed Outside of Tulsa Bank

Mar 1, 2018
Google Street View

A person, about to make a business deposit, is robbed in front of Tulsa bank. It happened this morning outside of the Pine and North Lewis, Bank of Oklahoma branch.

A woman had just pulled up in her car when an armed man opened the passenger door and got inside. He grabbed the deposit bag and the woman’s purse. He then fled to a nearby-parked car and made good his escape.

His weapon was visible, but remained holstered during the heist. 

In the Local News:

  • Teachers with guns; two reports.
  • Tulsa's new municipal jail opens.
  • Tulsa Transit holds a public meeting on expansion plans.

State of Oklahoma


Oklahoma voters would decide whether to make it easier for their Legislature to raise taxes under a bill that has cleared its first hurdle.

The Senate Rules Committee on Wednesday approved a resolution asking voters to reduce the current threshold for passing a tax increase from a three-fourth's majority of the Legislature to a three-fifth's majority. The proposal would only apply to sales taxes.



Court records show that investigators believe a private detective hired by a longtime Texas political consultant placed a tracker on an Oklahoma legislator's vehicle.

The Oklahoman reports that the consultant, 70-year-old George C. Shipley, has been subpoenaed to appear in an Oklahoma court next week "to provide testimony."

He was also ordered to bring business records on who hired him to research Republican Rep. Mark McBride, who discovered the tracking device in December.

A state House committee passed a trio of bills Wednesday that could expand Oklahomans’ access to guns.

Rep. Jeff Coody said House Bill 2918 lets anyone carry a gun with permission of the owner of the property they’re on. Rep. Cory Williams contended changing a section to say property controlled by "a" rather than "the" person, however, defeats that.

"You don’t require permission. You’re just allowing them to carry anywhere they want on any land that they want owned by anybody in the universe," Williams said.

File Photo-Glock Talk

Two weeks after 17 people were killed in a shooting at a Florida high school, an Oklahoma House committee approved a bill to expand school employees' access to guns.

House Bill 3192 would let school boards allow employees with a valid Oklahoma gun license carry on campus. Rep. Jeff Coody said force must be met with force.

"The only reasonable solution in many of these cases is to have someone on the inside who knows these kids and knows the teachers and who can eliminate the threat before it becomes more catastrophic than it already would be," Coody said.

An annual report on education in the Tulsa region shows continued improvement.

ImpactTulsa has been involved in campaigns to boost achievement in "soft skill" areas, like measures of school enrollment and completion.

"You’ve got kids signing up for pre-kindergarten. You’ve got work initiated on the chronic absenteeism. You’ve got upward trends in high school graduation, and you have upward trends in college applications and college enrollment," said ECONorthwest President John Tapogna, a consultant who works with ImpactTulsa on its previous community impact reports.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

People arrested on municipal charges like driving on a suspended license or shoplifting will now be booked into the City of Tulsa Jail.

Tulsa Police Chief Chuck Jordan said being able to take people arrested on city charges there instead of to the county jail should cut the booking process from 90 minutes to 30.

"We don’t have enough men and women in our police department to do the job we want to do," Jordan said. "Getting them in and out of a jail facility quicker when they have to put somebody in jail … just the time savings alone should be huge for our department."

Charges Filed in Metro School Threats

Feb 28, 2018
Tulsa District Attorney's Office

The Tulsa District Attorney’s office has filed charges against three Tulsa area juveniles related to school treats.  The office is not releasing the names because the suspects are under-age.

The office is also not saying what schools were targeted with the threats. In Tulsa County, there have been treats at East Central, Union, Bixby and the Dove Science Academy.

The threats have escalated since the school shooting in Florida, two weeks ago. 

File photo


Gov. Mary Fallin has reappointed Mike Turpen to the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.

Turpen is a former state attorney general now in private law practice.

His current term is to expire this year. Pending confirmation by the state Senate, the new term will expire in 2027.

The regents oversee Oklahoma's 25 public colleges and universities.

Google Street View

Oklahoma lawmakers enacted legislation in 2015 that lets school employees,  including teachers, carry guns on campus. The town of Okay appears to have the only district that uses the law to arm its staff.

Pete Hiseley was not the superintendent in 2015 when the Okay Public School Board signed off on school employees carrying guns. He wasn’t sure about the policy at first — but after running the district for about 9 months, Hiseley says he feels comfortable with it.

Ground is Broken for New TCC Facility

Feb 28, 2018

The Tulsa Community College breaks ground on a new $5.3 million expansion at its Southeast Campus. The facility is being paid for with funding from the 2016 Vision Tax extension, approved by voters.

The facility will become the TCC Student Success and Career Center. TCC President, Dr. Leigh Goodson, says the facility will be a one-stop location for all student services. The construction is expected to take about a year.

While located at the 81st and Highway 169 campus, President Goodson says the facility will serve all four TCC campuses. 

Arrests Made in East Central Threat

Feb 28, 2018
Tulsa County Booking Photo

A Tulsa man is being held on $25,000 bond on a complaint of making a threat. 23-year-old Tony Vue was arrested for comments made on social media regarding a violent threat on Tulsa’s East Central High School.

Police say along with Vue, a 17-year-old was also taken into custody. The juvenile’s name is not being released.

Officers say they did find weapons and a stash of ammunition when making the arrests.

KWGS' Top Local Stories

Feb 28, 2018

In the local news:

  • The governor signs the budget cut bill.
  • School threats keep officers busy.
  • Ground is broken for a new TCC project.

Trip Advisor


An eastern Oklahoma assistant police chief who was ejected from his pickup in a crash earlier this month has died from his injuries.

The Checotah Police Department says 35-year-old Justin Durrett died Monday at a Tulsa hospital after suffering multiple neck injuries in the Feb. 11 wreck in Haskell County.

Cherokee County Sheriff


Law enforcement authorities have launched an investigation following the discovery of a body in northeastern Oklahoma near where a man was reported missing a week ago.

Cherokee County Undersheriff Jason Chennault says the body was found Tuesday. Officials say the body was discovered in a creek bed in the area of Rocky Ford State Park near Tahlequah.

Authorities have not identified the body or released other details. But family members and friends say the body was discovered in an area where a 23-year-old man was reported missing a week ago.

Governor Fallin


Gov. Mary Fallin signed Tuesday a budget bill cutting current fiscal year spending nearly $45 million.

House Bill 1020XX was a measure passed during the Oklahoma legislature's second special session, which has not adjourned yet. It imposes an across-the-board 0.66 percent cut, which translates into a nearly 2 percent cut per month to each agency's budget in order to shave $44.6 million from state spending.

The bill was sent to Fallin Friday, but she has been at the National Governors Association Conference in Washington, D.C.

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An Oklahoma lawmaker wants to exempt cops from jury duty.

A bill passed out of the state House would exempt from jury service all officers certified by the Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training. Rep. Ross Ford said departments can’t afford to have officers stuck in a criminal or civil trial.

"These agencies are short-staffed right now, and it’s an officer safety issue that we’re putting lives — our officers in danger," Ford said.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

The Oklahoma House dealt a blow Tuesday to Gov. Mary Fallin’s proposal to boost government accountability, reaching a tie vote on the bill to set up an office dedicated to it.

House Bill 2876 used $2 million from Fallin’s executive budget to set up an accountability office within the legislature. The 15 member office would evaluate agency budgets and operations.

Rep. Shane Stone balked at provisions directing that office to also review administrative rules, something a House committee already does.


Oklahomans haven't yet voted on a medical marijuana initiative, but the legislature is already moving to regulate it.

Sen. Ervin Yen proposes limiting use to terminally ill patients and those with neuropathic pain, muscle spasms from multiple sclerosis or paraplegia, nausea or vomiting because of chemotherapy, or loss of weight or appetite from AIDS or cancer.

People with persistent pain other treatments aren’t resolving would not qualify for a medical marijuana card.



The Oklahoma Corporation Commission has developed new requirements for oil and natural gas operators in the event of an earthquake.

The commission announced the new protocol Tuesday for operators in the newest and largest areas of oil and gas development, known as SCOOP and STACK in central and southern Oklahoma.

The guidelines say operators must have access to real-time seismic readings and must take action such as reducing the volume of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, after a magnitude 2.0 earthquake, rather than magnitude 2.5.

A Top Honor for Broken Arrow's Rose Distict

Feb 27, 2018
KWGS News Photo



USA Today in their list of charming Main Streets across the USA included Broken Arrow’s Rose District in the top 50 list. 


PSO Workers Are Back Home, Again

Feb 27, 2018

Following a nearly a month of 16-hour days working to restore power to the hurricane-battered island of Puerto Rico, a dozen workers from Public Service Company of Oklahoma are now back home. 

The employees were among a group of nearly 70 workers from PSO and its sister companies across AEP who flew to Puerto Rico on January 27 to join the massive effort underway to restore power on the island. 

Parents: Police Your Kids on Social Media

Feb 27, 2018

It was meant to be a joke, but it is no joke to law enforcement. The Tulsa Police Department is asking parents to talk to their kids about school-related posts on social media.

Tulsa Police Sergeant Shane Tuell says it is a felony to make a threat. They have been swamped with calls following the Florida school shooting earlier this month.

The U.S. Attorney's office in Tulsa will also investigate any threats that are made. 

Several students across northeastern Oklahoma have been arrested for various threat-related crimes.